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Advocacy group calls for consumer protection law

BY: Charles Andoh

The Ghana Centre for Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International, a consumer advocacy group, is calling for a law to protect the rights of consumers in the country.

Such a law, it said, would help streamline the activities of producers of consumables, so that they would not short-change consumers.

The Cuts International Ghana Co-ordinator, Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, noted that currently there were no specific laws that gave consumers the power and opportunity to express their concerns when they felt they had been cheated by producers.

Mr Adomako was speaking in an interview after a sensitisation workshop in Accra yesterday to mark World Consumer Rights Day, which is commemorated on March 15 every year.

He said in countries such as Nigeria, there was a law in place that protected the rights of consumers, for which reason consumers could not be taken for granted.

Price hikes

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In his view, the lack of a legal regime in Ghana, had given producers the leeway to take advantage of consumers, resulting in price hikes and the lack of uniformity in prices of goods in the country.

“The absence of a law to protect the rights of consumers has given producers the opportunity to always short-change consumers,” he stressed.

 Mr Adomako also called for a competition regime by which consumers would be exposed to various products at lower and competitive rates on the markets.

“A competition regime will also encourage local industries to be creative and innovative, as well as improve productivity and safeguard producers against negative practices such as abnormal profits,” he added. 

Cuts CREW project

In a presentation on the achievements of Cuts International Ghana, a Programmes Associate, Ms Edayatu Lamptey, said the organisation research areas such as the maize and transport sectors to know the concerns of consumers.

She said under the “Competition Reforms in Key Markets for Enhancing Social and Economic Welfare in Developing Countries (CREW)” project, the research had established that there was the need for competitive markets in both the agricultural and transport sectors to provide consumers with the opportunity to choose from products of their choice.

She stated that the study established that even though farmers were in favour of the current fertiliser regime, they were usually unable to purchase the fertiliser due to its high cost.

Ms Lamptey called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to make available good and quality maize seedlings for farmers.

The President of the Maize Sellers Association of Ghana, Ms Lydia Abbey, called on the government to construct roads in remote parts of the country where most farm produce, including maize, came from.

She said maize farmers usually encountered many challenges in their effort to transport their produce from the farm gate to the market, “hence the need for the government to help them”.